Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century

Posted by on February 07, 2011

Forging multiple pathways to success

The Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education has released a new report that argues our national strategy for education is too narrowly focused on an academic, classroom-based approach. According to the report, this strategy has produced only incremental gains in achievement, even as other nations outpace the United States. The report therefore advocates a broader vision of school reform that embraces multiple pathways for young people to successfully transition from adolescence to adulthood. Though the country currently emphasizes a single pathway to success — attending and graduating from a four-year college — only 30 percent of students attain this goal. At the same time, the country is expected to create 47 million jobs in the 10-year period ending in 2018, only a third of which will require a bachelor’s or higher degree. Given these realities, the report argues for far more emphasis on career counseling and high-quality career education, as well as apprenticeship programs and community colleges. The report also argues that employers should play a greatly expanded role in helping young adults participate in work-based learning and in jobs related to their actual programs of study. Finally, the report recommends a new social compact, which promises that by his or her mid-20s, every young American will be equipped with the education and experience to lead a successful life as an adult.

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